Under The Radar: November 3, 2011

Every day, dozens of brand new games appear in the App Store. But how do you tell the quality apps from the junk? Just read our weekly feature, Under The Radar, where we pick five of the best new indie iOS games of the week.

Hungry Sumo

Sumo is a time-honored tradition in Japan, where plus-sized men bounce around an arena, snarfing rice and shrinking their opponents. At least, that’s the concept in Hungry Sumo. To play, you press down on your free-floating sumo wrestler to fill him full of rice. This makes him larger, and when he bumps into a smaller opponent, they’ll shrink. However, you can’t be eating when they connect, or your sumo wrestler will be the one who shrinks. This multi-touch game is a lot of fun if you’ve got dexterous fingers.

Price: $.99

Buy from iTunes

Peak Gold

Mining for gold doesn’t have to be dark and dangerous. In Peak Gold, it’s actually enjoyable. You play as a miner operating a heavy crane deep underground. By press and holding on the screen, you’ll shoot out a claw to grab giant gold nuggets. You have to build up combos to activate Gold Fever mode, but if you miss or pick up too many plain rocks, you’ll run out of energy. You’re meant to replay Peak Gold several times to unlock better machinery, making this is a high-score game with real lasting value.

Price: $.99

Buy from iTunes

Crime Solitaire HD

Solitaire is usually what police officers play when they’re not chasing down criminals, but in Crime Solitaire HD, it’s a part of the official investigation. Your goal is to round up a series of low-level criminals, like kite-fliers and irritating public singers, by completing a series of solitaire rounds. The better you do, the more clues you’ll get, and then you can identify suspects using the process of elimination. Jazzy music, a silly sense of humor, and the fast-paced, crime-themed card-playing all make Crime Solitaire HD an upstanding App Store citizen.

Price: $1.99

Buy from iTunes

Patchworld

From the developers of the charming platformer A Moon For The Sky comes another family-friendly game. In Patchworld, you have to cut out shapes for a girl who is embarking on a journey across the world. These shapes will combine to form sails and a deck for a ship, or the torch and crown of the Statue of Liberty. You have to trace each form carefully, and in hard mode you have a time limit, so pick up this game if you know (or are) an adventurous kid.

Price: $1.99

Buy from iTunes

W.E.L.D.E.R.

This heavy-duty word game is sort of like a steampunk version of Scrabble. You start with a board filled with letters and blank tiles. You can swap adjacent tiles to form words, but if you use all your swaps, it’s game over. You can also level up by performing well. The clunky machine sound effects make W.E.L.D.E.R. feel more substantial, just like your vocabulary after a few rounds.

Price: $1.99

Buy from iTunes